When I was 4 years old an erroneous miracle happened. After a long vacation my late father decided to resume in the duty of his job. His office was 140 km. or so away from our native home. He asked my mother to check the date of his journey in the calendar. My mother erroneously selected the date next after the real date. On that day, the very train my father used to board for his office collided with another train taking many lives.

Alexander Fleming in medicine, Rontgen in physics, Kekuley in chemistry, Landsteiner in hematology all realized the significance of ERROR or MISTAKE (though we don't spare our children even when their mistakes do no harm).

My question is,  What is the anatomy & future significance of error from the viewpoint of Anthropology?

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Comment by Youdheya Banerjee/Bandyopadhyay on September 21, 2011 at 8:19pm
One thing i skipped, my mother's mistake saved my father that day.
Comment by John McCreery on September 21, 2011 at 7:50am
Whose error? And what kind? These are not rhetorical questions. There are the anthropologists' errors, misreporting something seen or said. There are the native's errors. Where knowledge is esoteric, an uninitiated native may also mistake was is seen or heard. Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. Both can be minor, easily corrected by repeated observation and cross-checking. Both can be major, leading to serious misunderstanding or invalidating an intended performative effect. Incorrect performance is, for example, a common excuse for why rituals are not efficacious as claimed or, in other contexts, why experiments fail to reproduce predicted results. Sports and referees are another familiar context for debates about error.


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